This Season 4 Preview targets the Elite Rebel Saboteurs, who have a storied history in competitive skirmish. Initially released by FFG with a surge ability for Blast 2, they became a natural counter to the “Four by Four” Imperial meta of 4 Regular Royal Guards & 4 Regular Imperial Officers. After the first Imperial Assault World Championship, FFG issued an errata to the Elite Rebel Saboteur, reducing it’s Blast 2 down to Blast 1. Elite Saboteurs remained playable for some time after that, until the increased power curve introduced by the Jabba’s Realm expansion finally left them behind.
The Steering Committee have been listening to our community about how could the Elite Rebel Saboteur card could be improved. Many members suggested to revert the FFG errata and give Sabs their Blast 2 ability back. The Committee started internally testing this change and still found the card lacking. Even with the potential for one figure to spend two surges for Blast 4, opponents can position their figures to minimize the amount of Blast damage that could be done. Then the Sabs’ other flaws would begin to show: Limited range for their attacks. Too easily one-shot by Focused attackers; especially from Focused Hunters like the Elite Weequay. Figure cost of 4 makes running two groups of Elite Rebel Saboteurs cost-prohibitive. Worst of all, they didn’t do as much damage as they should do for the cost when they’re not Focused.
We ultimately decided to do more than just revert the FFG nerf and give them some proper quality-of-life updates:
Having a Health of 7 with a white defense die doesn’t completely prevent an Elite Rebel Saboteur figure from being defeated with just one attack; it does increase the chances that the attacker will have to spend Command cards or other resources to add enough damage for the one-attack kill. When your opponent does defeat one of your Saboteurs, they’ll now gain just 3 Victory Points. This lower figure cost enables more aggressive play, especially if you know you can trade one of your Sabs for a more-expensive figure like Thrawn or Ahsoka Tano. The lower figure cost also makes using Targeting Computer and Heavy Fire more viable.
You’ll also be able to make less risky positional plays thanks to an increased minimum attack range of 4 spaces. And with Blast 2 returned to the card combined with Priority Target, players using figures that grant defensive bonuses to friendly figures such as C-3PO and Royal Guards may may need to re-evaluate whether clumping every other figure in their list around that defensive bonus is still a good idea.
Attacking while Focused is when the Elite Sabs finally approach doing significant damage by both rolling enough damage results & spending a surge on Pierce 2; the odds of applying Stun to most figures dramatically increases as well. The Steering Committee wants the Sabs’ Stun ability to be impactful but not overwhelming; we will be watching your feedback from testing closely to ensure it is the former.
Now Let’s Blow This Thing and Go Home
We’re expecting to see players utilize one or two groups of Elite Rebel Saboteur with Drokkatta, the Wookiee who has been longing for allies who share her Heavy Weapon keyword. We’re also looking for more usage of Hera Syndulla, whose Call the Shots ability gives an un-Focused Sab attack just a bit more range or power. Retaining their Spy keyword means they’ll fit into almost any list that needs the controlling power of Spy command cards, as well as grant an extra Spy group to any list trying to field 3 to maximize the power of Comms Disruption. Han Solo and Luke Skywalker would appreciate having a few Focused Sabs in their army; Stunning one of your opponent’s important figures will leave them helpless for Han’s or Luke’s multiple attacks.
With these changes to Elite Rebel Saboteurs, the Steering Committee feels like the card is now ready to add to its storied competitive skirmish history. What those stories tell will be up to you.
This article is part of our Season 4 Preview series. All through July, the Steering Committee will be revealing the new cards from Season 4! You can discuss these cards in the comments here or on the IACP subreddit.